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AGM 2007 – Chairman’s Report

Ladies and Gentlemen.

There has been so much happening over the last year, that unless I am selective we shall be here till after the bar closes and that would never do! Many of the items I will report on tonight are on going and I shall return to them later in the evening.

I said at last year’s AGM that recruitment was a must and to this end your committee has spent some time looking at ways of increasing membership. We chose the National Forest Trophy event at Ratby Woodlands to be the focal point of a recruiting drive. With generous sponsorship from the National Forest Company we were able to mount a large publicity campaign in the Leicester Mercury and the local newspapers covering the northern part of our area. This, together with many posters put up and leaflets handed out by members of the club, succeeded in attracting over a hundred first timers to the event. Follow up by members of the development team has enabled us to enrol a number of those first timers as club members. I must thank Judith, John, Roy and Roger for the huge amount of work they put in to make the event a success.

The Ratby Woodlands event was not the only plank in our recruitment programme. We have for a number of years had a presence at the Burbage Common open day, thanks to the endeavours of Roger Kelly. This year in addition to Burbage, LEI has been “on tour” to open days at Bosworth Battle Field and Watermeade. We would have been at Sence Valley but the flood waters were too deep even for Orienteers. It is difficult to know exactly what impact these events have but at the very least they introduce orienteering to a wider public and we are aware that some of the people we talk to at these open days do come to other club events.

Much of our recruitment programme has been driven by Judith and Roger and members of the Development Team and it is to the activities of the Development Team I would like to turn to next.

Throughout the year a number of coaching activities have been held as part of the East Midland Coaching Programme.. The Autumn Series of Saturday morning events in Leicester Parks, aimed at junior and novice Orienteers, has also included a coaching element.

Two significant steps in our out reach to schools has been the signing of partnership agreements with South Charnwood Primary Schools and Oadby and Wigston High Schools. We have received grants from British Orienteering to help with the cost of these partnerships and are seeking further funding to cover the full cost of mapping school sites. The club will be involved with the initial setting up and training in the schools and we look forward to a long and profitable involvement with them.

Progress towards Club Mark status has been steady and I am hopeful that we will have completed all the required work in the next year. In working to the Club Mark award we have a commitment to listening to the views and needs of the younger members of the club and as part of that process I welcome Ben Windsor to the Club Committee as the junior representative.

Our events programme has been a full and busy one. If my maths are correct we have organised 40 events in the last 12 months. My thanks to Mark Foxwell for masterminding the summer league – perhaps next year you could try and pick evenings when its not raining!. Thankfully both the Summer and Winter Leagues continue to attract large numbers as they are crucial to the club’s financial health. However I am aware that on occasions our success threatens to overwhelm the slim volunteer resources we are able to commit to these events. The last year has seen an increase use of SI at C5 events and I will be returning to the subject of SI equipment later in the evening.

We have in the last year moved to online entries for our C3 events. We used the Midland Night Championships, which we hosted at Bagworth in November, as a trial run. The success of that trial has allowed us to move forward with confidence and we shall in future be using online entries for all our major events. The next step I think will be online entries for colour coded courses at Badge Events. Some clubs have already moved in that direction.

One problem that we have experienced over the last year is clashes with events put on by neighbouring clubs. In particular we had to move the Willesley C4 event as OD were insistent that they would run their UK Cities Cup event at Warwick on the same day, despite our event already being registered and having appeared on the British Orienteering Fixtures web site for several months. I estimate that the change of date cost us several hundred pounds in lost income. There is a fixtures registration protocol which should ensure that clashes of events do not occur. However some clubs have chosen to ignore the protocols. I have made a formal protest to British Orienteering which, whilst it has not solved our problems has at least led to a tightening up of the rules.

I mentioned earlier the generous sponsorship from the National Forest Company for the Ratby Woodland event. We have over the last year been able to build closer links with the National Forest Company, to our mutual benefit. There are considerable opportunities for us as a club within the National Forest to enhance our sport and we need to take those opportunities. My thanks to Roy Denney who has been instrumental in building those links.

As most of you will be know, British Orienteering has a regional structure and we are part of the East Midlands Orienteering Association. I think it right that you should be aware of some of my concerns about our membership of EMOA. Concerns despite the fact that we have for a number of years supplied officers of that body. Currently our President is the Vice Chairman. Concerns that are shared by other committee members.

Membership of EMOA cost you money via a membership fee and by event levies. As Roger Edwards pointed out in his article in summer newsletter, for every senior competitor at a C4 event that has SI punching EMOA get £1. Apart from Ernie’s excellent cartoons in the newsletter you might like to ask what you get for that money. I would remind you that when the pool of SI kit was set up a few years ago the clubs in the region contributed money, in our case out of reserve, to buy the kit. I am concerned that this year’s EMOA AGM took place, despite strong representations from several members of the club, at the far north end of the region effectively disenfranchising members living in the south end of the region. I am concerned that EMOA were unable to stage this year’s Compass Sport Cup heat after LOG’s problems with Stapleford Woods. For the present we are stuck with our membership of EMOA. Perhaps next year we should all make a concerted effort to go to the EMOA AGM, wherever it might be, and ask the question. What is EMOA doing for me and were does it spend my money?

We have had a very good year as a club. Membership is up. The first time we have shown an increase in several years. We have managed to balance the books -just. and perhaps more importantly we have had we have had some very good sport.

As your Chairman I am very fortunate in having the support of a very strong and hard working committee and team of principal officers. My thanks to you all for the support that you have given me over the last year and all the countless hours of hard work you have put in on behalf of the club.

Ladies and Gentlemen that concludes my report for the last twelve months.